What’s Causing My Chest Pain and Vomiting?

Medically reviewed by University of Illinois-Chicago, College of Medicine on April 19, 2016Written by Rachel Nall, RN, BSN, CCRN on April 14, 2014

Overview

Pain in the chest can range from squeezing or crushing to burning. Chest pain can be a symptom of a heart attack. However, there are many types of chest pain and many possible causes of it. If you think you may be having a heart attack, chest pain is a medical emergency.

Vomiting is the forceful exit of stomach contents through the mouth. Nausea or stomach upset typically occurs before a person vomits.

When to seek medical help

Seek immediate medical help if you think a heart attack is causing your chest pain and vomiting. Call 911 if you experience these symptoms along with:

  • shortness of breath
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • chest discomfort with pain radiating to the jaw
  • chest discomfort that radiates to one arm or the shoulders

See your doctor if vomiting doesn’t subside within two days or if it’s severe and you can’t keep fluids down after one day.

You should always seek medical attention if you’re concerned you may be experiencing a medical emergency.

How are chest pain and vomiting treated?

The following are some possible treatments for these symptoms:

  • Your doctor will treat chest pain and heart attack by addressing the cause or causes of these symptoms. You may need immediate intervention to reopen a blocked blood vessel or open-heart surgery to reroute blood flow.
  • Your doctor can prescribe medications to stop vomiting and nausea, such as ondansetron (Zofran) and promethazine (Phenergan).
  • Antacids or medications to reduce the stomach’s acid production can treat the symptoms of acid reflux.
  • Your doctor may prescribe antianxiety medications if they determine that these symptoms are related to an anxiety condition.

How do I care for chest pain and vomiting at home?

Because you can lose a significant amount of fluids when vomiting, drink small sips of clear fluids periodically to avoid dehydration. Resting also may help to lessen chest pain.

Always check with your doctor before treating your chest pain at home. They can help you determine if you need emergency care.

How can I prevent chest pain and vomiting?

Chest pain and vomiting aren’t typically preventable. However, eating a low-fat diet can reduce your risk of experiencing symptoms related to gallstones. Having a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of a heart attack.

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